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Pregnancy Testing and Pregnancy Symptoms

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Updated June 24, 2014

Closeup of a young woman smiling at the results of a pregnancy test. Horizontal shot.
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Why the test is done:

To determine if you are pregnant or because you are having pregnancy symptoms or signs of pregnancy.

The most frequent reasons for its use are:

How the test is done:

There are two different types of pregnancy test: urine and blood. Both look for the presence of hCG in the sample. Blood tests are more sensitive, but are more costly and not as easily obtained. Urine tests are sold at nearly every pharmacy and simply require placing a urine sample on a stick or disk. (Follow instructions on the box.)

Other names for the test:

When the test is done:

Blood test can be done about 10 days after ovulation. Urine tests begin to be more accurate around 14 days after ovulation, or about the time you miss your period. Though newer pregnancy tests come out saying that they are sensitive enough to pick up some pregnancies prior to your missed period.

How the results are given:

Usually as positive or negative. hCG levels over 5 mIU are generally considered pregnant. Most urine test measure between 25 - 200 mIU.

Risks involved:

There is no risk to the test itself.

Alternatives:

Ultrasound screening can also help determine this status although not until a few weeks later. Sometimes around 4 weeks past ovulation a manual exam can show an enlarged uterus, but it can't rule that pregnancy is the only cause.

Where do you go from here?

Dependent on results, however, seeking the help of a medical care provider like a doctor or midwife is a must for a healthy pregnancy.

Other Resources:

Readers Respond: How did you feel in early pregnancy?

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